With a new season set to start in mere days, you just knew Riot was going to stir the pot…I mean fix what was wrong…I mean make the game better! Time to take a look at what some of the changes could bring, 2hp style.
Anivia: Quality of life changes. Her mana costs related to her wall and Q will make a difference in extended team fights, but not really for anything else. Anivia still won’t be able to compete with the Gragas’ and Oriannas of the mid lane. A lot of pro mids did get very good with her years ago, so I guess you never know.
Annie: A bit of a balancing act. Her stun won’t be as devastating early game but she will have Tibbers up more often to devastate you later. Fundamentally, Annie’s auto attack range, low mana costs and AoE stun generated by Tibbers remain the same if not better. In fact, there’s a delightful reddit post out there speculating that with 40% CDR Tibbers will become a permanent pet at level 16. I won’t go into it in detail, but the numbers work… So yes, Annie will still be a dominate support. Only Leona is in a better place.
Evelynn: You should play her. Yes, these nerfs will hurt her a bit. How much won’t be clear until you see how slow her Q travels now. Problem is that the current season has just offered her so many fringe benefits. The new vision system and the new changes to spirit stone will keep her in a good, but now slightly less bursty, place.
Janna: In a bot lane dominated by Thresh and Annie…I think you see where I’m going with this. Janna, in my mind, is much more of a team fight support than a lane support. She has some decent tools to help her team, but they simply aren’t as good as what Annie and Thresh can do in and outside of lane. Janna can slow Leona down a bit, but even Leona can get the upper hand on her after level 6. I don’t think we’ll see much solo queue Janna at all.
Jinx: The nerf to her base health is intriguing, as she ends up being significantly more squishy early game. She still has the range to overcome this. Honestly, if you are relying heavily on her flaming chompers then you really aren’t playing her right. Those nerfs won’t matter.
Nasus: The core remains strong. If he can make it into late game he will still turn into a beast. The only good thing about these changes is he will no longer be able to pop ult and just have a presence everywhere in a team fight. That won’t change how much he will wreck you when he gets on you.
Rengar: He’s an odd champ. His burst is explosive, so you will see people pick him up and dominate games with him for a couple of weeks before putting him away again. Probably to do with the fact that Riot keeps saying they are going to rework him but instead just tinker with the numbers halfheartedly. The latest change, now healing him for a percentage of missing health, could actually make him popular in lane again. In this meta you need to be tanky or be able to consistently heal yourself back up to exist in top lane. He now might be able to do the latter.
Riven: Well…the good news here is that if no one plays her after these changes I’ll get to start feeling like she’s all mine again. Seriously though, at first you look at the attack damage changes to her Q and you think it’s a hard nerf. Then you see that they actually switched the damage to scale off of her total attack damage and not just bonus AD. Nightblue, a fairly well known jungler, did the math and it actually looks like her overall damage comes out around where it used to be, maybe a little less or more depending on the situation.
What will actually hurt her more is her shield nerf. 1 second less of shield is an eternity in a team fight, and even when trading in lane – especially for a squishy damage dealer. I think these nerfs will hurt Riven, but I do believe that she will bounce back. Her kit is just too strong as long as enough pieces of it remain in tact.
Shyvana: These nerfs target her early game. Now, Shyvana shouldn’t be able to kill you with massive amounts of damage at level 2, but by late game, she will still be the same unkillable tank she was before. In many ways, the Sunfire cape changes might actually hurt her more than her actual changes. I think we could see people deal with the W and E nerfs by maxing twin bites first. Still allows you to trade and push decently while making up for the damage that her other abilities no longer put out.
Thresh: As if landing the box wasn’t already hard enough. I highly doubt this delay in the box deploying will slow him down too much, unlike his opponents. It will simply force Thresh players to be more precise on their timing. Which shouldn’t matter as much if they have someone hooked and flayed. Any change that encourages people to actually grab the darn lanterns is ok in my books.
Yasao: Did they change him? Not really. Quality of life changes. Start playing him now because after everyone picks or bans him this weekend in the LCS he’s going to be very much in demand. In fact, he already was banned in 5 out of the first 6 EU LCS games. There’s a good reason for this – he’s broken.
Other champ changes: I won’t touch on these too much but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t cry about some minor Olaf changes. Seriously though, couldn’t they go nerf Irelia or something?
Spirit Visage: The CDR has been halved. Now those scary top lane tanks will have to consider other non health items if they want to improve their CDR. Champs with strong sources of health regen will still love this item but I think champs that need the cool down reduction might be tempted to do a Frozen Heart.
Sunfire cape: Still a good combo of armor and health. Otherwise, the damage isn’t quite what it used to be. If you don’t require those stats you might be better served by going after CDR or simply rushing the Randuins
Jungle Items: Listening to Nightblue, it sounds like the changes to the jungle item, whereby all items (starting with the spirit stone) will return a percentage of the damage dealt as health and mana, will allow a lot of formerly mana hungry junglers to really start to thrive. One name he floated around as being devestatingly good would be tiger stance Udyr.
The sustain from all that attack speed and damage would be incredible. Clear times might go down a bit with these changes, but expect junglers to come to your lane with more health and mana than they ever had before.
General Game Changes
Turrets: All outer turrets have now had their early game bonus armor removed. Instead, top and mid outer turret are more resistant to champion auto attacks. But what about bottom turret you ask? Well, that outer turret will officially be weaker than any other outer turret.
Riot’s mission here is to keep duo lanes in the bot lane. If you defend said bottom turret with only one person against two from the other team you can expect it to go down very fast. Nightblue also expects, and I agree fully, that pro teams will more frequently deploy their junglers bot to keep that turret up. When that turret goes, so does dragon control and the ability to fully control your bot jungle.
For a company that claims they like to see new things, it is interesting to see Riot take steps to solidify the current meta. This seems to be something they are doing much more frequently with initiatives such as the teambuilder. It is hard to say if this will stiffle player creativity or if players will work around these changes, as they often do.
Vision: It sounds like Riot is really making an effort to make vision work better. Most of this effort appears to be focused around making it easier to see and react to skill shots launched out of the fog of war. For any of you who have ever been destroyed by a surprise Nidalee spear, this change will probably be welcome. For those of us trying to land Thresh hooks out of the shadows…maybe not as much.
Stable Champion Stable: One last interesting note. Riot is planning, sometime in the near future, to make a group of champions permanently free to play at low levels. I like this idea. You have to think that Riot already has more than enough money to take a hit and free up some champions. League is half about understanding the game and half about learning how to play certain champs inside and out. Once you become familiar with one or two champs, it becomes a lot easier to improve your overall game awareness.
I would say that this should help new players pick up league a lot faster but it sounds as though Riot is going to limit these permanently free champions to very low level players. It’s been a while but I feel as though I leveled up quite quickly to begin with. We’ll see if Riot actually gives new players enough time to get to know these free champs or if Riot will take them away at a level so low that most people will only have access to them for a week anyways.
As always I would love to hear what you think about the upcoming patch. Are any of your favorite champs getting nerfed? Does Riot nerfing Riven before releasing a new Riven skin (coming for Lunar revel) show they really are more concerned with the game than the money? Let me know!